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admin | reflection of the past meaning | 21.04.2015
In the years preceding the setting up of the Rosetta Stone, control of certain parts of Egypt had been lost to the family of the Ptolemies, and it had taken the Ptolemaic armies some time to put down opposition in the Delta; parts of southern Upper Egypt, particularly Thebes, were not yet back in the control of the government.
The inscription begins with praise of Ptolemy, and then includes an account of the siege of the city of Lycopolis (a town in the Delta, not identified with certainty), and the good deeds done by the king for the temples.
The Egyptians had used hieroglyphic script for nearly 3,500 years, from 3100 BC until the end of the fourth century AD.
French Captain Pierre-Francois Bouchard (sometimes spelled Boussard) (1772-1832) discovered the stone in the Egyptian port city of Rosetta (present-day Rashid) on July 15, 1799.
After Napoleon Bonaparte founded the Institut de l'Egypte in Cairo in 1798 some 50 became members of it.
In 1814 Thomas Young finished translating the enchorial (demotic) text, and went on to work on the hieroglyphic alphabet. In 1822 French Egyptologist Jean Francois Champollion, with the aid of the Coptic language (language of the Christian descendants of the ancient Egyptians) - succeeded in realizing the phonetic value of the hieroglyphs. Champollion greatly expanded his research from 1822-1824 and is known as the translator of the Rosetta Stone. The background to the setting up of the stela was the confirmation of the control of the Ptolemaic kings over Egypt.


It appears that it was decided that the best way to emphasise the legitimacy of the 13 year old Ptolemy V in the eyes of the Egyptian elite was to re-emphasise his traditional royal credentials with a coronation ceremony in the city of Memphis, and to affirm his royal cult throughout Egypt. The final part of the text describes the decree's overriding purpose, the establishment of the cult of the king. At about the turn of the third century AD the Egyptians began to write their languages in a script composed of the Greek alphabet, to which were added seven characters derived ultimately from hieroglyphs.
Bouchard found a black stone when guiding construction works in the Fort Julien near the city of Rosetta.
A dispute arose about the results of the scientists - the French wishing to keep them, while the British considered them forfeit in the name of King George III. This proved the fact that hieroglyphs do not have only symbolic meaning, but that they also served as a "spoken language". This second aim was done through a series of priestly decrees, of which the Rosetta Stone is by far the best-known example. In this form the languages came to be known as Coptic, no doubt a corruption of the Greek word Aiguptios. He immediately understood the importance of the stone and showed it to General Abdallah Jacques de Menou who decided that it should be brought to the institute, where it arrived in August, 1799.


The French scientist Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, writing to the English diplomat William Richard Hamilton, threatened to burn all their discoveries, ominously referring to the burned Library of Alexandria. The stunning realization that the stone contained the same passage written three times in three different languages allowed it be become and ancient Code Book. It is a version of the decree issued at the city of Memphis; others include the Canopus decree in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Knowledge of how to read and write the hieroglyphic script was probably lost soon after it had been superseded and no key to its meaning was found until the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. The French tried to hide the Rosetta Stone in a boat despite the clauses of the capitulation, but failed.
The French were allowed to take the imprints they had made previously, when embarking in Alexandria.
When it was brought back to Britain, it was presented to the British Museum, where it has been kept since 1802.



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